There’s no more threat in the enemy who is dead. Isaiah chapter 14 discusses the enemies who do not live on. In Christ, the old enemy, death itself, is dead.
Luther, Martin, edited by Jaroslav Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, translated by Herbert J.A. Bowman) Luther’s Works, Vol. 16, Lectures on Isaiah Chapters 1-39. St. Louis: Concordia, 1969. Logos Electronic Edition.
“Isaiah Chapter 14” pp. 138-145.
The rescue of Israel described in Isaiah 14 is related to the judgment on Babylon. Luther identifies this with the release of the Jews under Cyrus (LW 16, 138). Not only is Israel to be released, the fear of the enemies will dissipate and the Jews will even taunt their former oppressors (v. 4). Luther ties verse 5 and the judgment against the wicked to the idea that a good prince serves for the good of his people but an evil one uses power for destruction (LW 16, 139). In verses 8 and following even the dead will observe that the evil kings, now dead themselves, are no more a threat. In life they were clothed with finery, riches, and authority. In death they are clothed with maggots (LW 16, 140). Luther makes a very specific criticism of allegorical interpretation in regard to verse 12, which speaks of “Lucifer.” “This is not said of the angel who once was thrown out of heaven but of the king of Babylon, and it is figurative language” (LW 16, 140). The magnificent king who thought he was the light of the world falls to his own death. The language continues to make a comparison of the dead to the living. Those who have died are no longer in power and are no threat to anybody (LW 16, 141).
In verse 24 Isaiah turns to Assyria, then in verses 28 to Philistia. In both cases, the people who oppose God’s people will be unsuccessful (LW 16, 142-143). Luther observes that “Christ, too, is called death, plague of death, lion, serpent, sin, curse, fire, etc. This is what lifts up the faith of the godly” (LW 16, 143-144). Knowing that God is the protector of his people and that God never changes should bring considerable comfort to God’s people.
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